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RISC OS goes open source

RISC OS Developments Ltd are proud to announce that RISC OS, the original operating system (OS) for ARM processors is being made available as a fully open source OS, via the Apache 2.0 licence and under the continued stewardship of RISC OS Open Ltd.

A high performance and low footprint system, RISC OS provides a modern desktop interface coupled with easy access to programming, hardware and connectivity. It continues to incorporate the world-renowned programming language, BBC BASIC, and remains amazingly compact, fitting onto a tiny 16MB SD card.

Originally developed in Cambridge, England; RISC OS was the first operating system for the wildly successful ARM series of microprocessors, and one of the first to support the massively successful Raspberry Pi, for which it remains an ideal companion. Now truly open, RISC OS has a wider scope than just the Pi, with support for ARM-based CPUs from the likes of Texas Instruments, Intel, Broadcom, Freescale, NXP and more. Fuelled by the move to open source, RISC OS makes an ideal choice for royalty-free ARM-based projects from “smart home” controllers and industrial automation, to medical and database servers.

RISC OS provides "close to the metal" performance, making it ideally suited to single-board-computers epitomised by the Raspberry Pi; the system boots almost instantly, and reaches a full, graphical desktop in seconds. Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Foundation said, "RISC OS is a great demonstration of how much performance a well-tuned operating system and user interface can wring out of a platform. Moving to a free open source license should bring a renewed interest to RISC OS."

The inclusion of BBC BASIC, (widely taught in schools in the UK and abroad), enables existing BASIC programs to be run, "out of the box" on RISC OS, and provides easy access to the hardware and I/O capability of computers. This allows BBC BASIC to remain fresh and relevant for all manner of control projects on devices such as the Pi.

RISC OS was the first home for many famous software packages, including industry leading titles such as the Sibelius music processing family and the Xara range of graphics products. It also famously powered the graphics and production of many TV shows including household names such as "Who Wants to be a Millionaire", “The National Lottery” and “A Question of Sport”, plus many other iconic BBC productions.

RISC OS Developments Ltd is excited to unveil its future plans for the system. “The open source movement plays a fundamental part in today’s software industry and its goals of promoting collaboration and sharing are exactly what the RISC OS community needs to enable its future growth.” says Richard Brown, Director of RISC OS Developments Ltd. Fellow director Andrew Rawnsley added, “This move unlocks a lot of opportunities for RISC OS that were previously inaccessible due to former licence restrictions. We look forward to seeing the exciting projects that this makes possible.”

Our Company

RISC OS Developments Ltd
Barling Road
Barling Magna
Great Wakering

Our Staff

Richard Brown
Contact via email: Richard Brown

Andrew Rawnsley
Contact via email: Andrew Rawnsley

Our Purpose

Formed in 2016 in order to:
  • provide investment into RISC OS
  • provide development into RISC OS
  • provide development into RISC OS applications
  • bring RISC OS to new markets